This crazy year is coming to a close. We have all endured so much as educators, instructional coaches, administrators, and students. From learning how to teach online with little to no training to becoming self-motivators when there’s no one in front of you to tell you what to do, it has been a year with a huge learning curve. While we are all ready to get to summer, it’s important to leave the teachers who are staying and going feeling like what they did mattered. One way to do this is to celebrate the struggle and resilience we have all demonstrated.
Why Celebrate Struggle?
This sounds really strange. Celebrate struggle. However, it is important for us to recognize that through struggle we learn so much. When we struggle, we learn new coping mechanisms, we find solutions to what seem like impossible problems, and we become better educators. So, how do we celebrate struggle and resilience with teachers before the summer begins beyond just giving gratitude?
Enjoy a “Night” In
Teachers are working non-stop this time of year. One of the best things they can do for themselves is take some time to relax. You can enjoy a “night” in with your teachers by having a small coffee or ice cream social at the end of the school day. You can allow people to stay as late as they would like. During this time, teachers can talk to each other about what they learned or how they have grown. In addition, you can give teacher awards for the year! This would be a great time for reflection as well as social time.
Celebrate the Good
We have been through a lot of “bad” this year. COVID-19, hospitalizations, isolation, quarantine, and in some cases death. On top of all of this, our world has been in political turmoil. Therefore, celebrating the good is vital. When you celebrate the good, you can do this virtually by doing a quick online Zoom meeting or using a sharable Google Slide to look at the struggle and transform it into a good. They say every cloud has a silver lining. By “forcing” teachers to see this, you are asking them to see the work they have done. In this way, they can celebrate the struggle and the resilience they have demonstrated. You can put a cherry on top of celebrating the good by giving your teachers a little note along with a treat to give them a simple thank you.
Feast and Friends
Food is one of the best motivators there are for people. You can celebrate struggle and resilience by getting everyone together! We gather together as a family around the dinner table for several events. This is so true in school too. Now, you might be thinking that’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. You can arrange a potluck for your last PD meeting and have teachers do a play a few games and complete a gallery walk of the struggles and good that came out of it while they enjoy some food. This will get teachers talking and feeling like they are appreciated because food does that for everyone.
Celebrate Struggle and Resilience with a Snap Shot of the Year
Sometimes when we look back on a year, we only see the bad (especially right at the end of the year). Instead of sending teachers out the door at a run, let them walk through the halls and see Snap Shots of students they have helped throughout the year. On the pictures, you can share growth you have seen both academically and in behavior. You can also have students share memorable moments. This will help teachers celebrate the struggle because they will see all the good it did.
Utilize a New Technological Tool
If you are still virtual and need to find a way to show the teachers how much they did, get a hold of students and have them do a new Flip Grid. Because many of us never used this before this year, it is a little cherry on top because the person who is receiving the video probably taught the student this skill. In the video, students can say thank you and say something they learned. You can take the best ones or all of them and send them to your teachers. The personal message will warm their hearts and not take much time for you to do. Plus, they can play it over and over again.
This year has been full of struggle. However, we need to learn to celebrate struggle and resilience. Because educators were thrown into a whole new world of education this year, it’s important to celebrate what we have done well. There will, hopefully, never be a year quite like this year. Through this experience though, we have gained knowledge, and we have learned how resilient teachers and students truly are.
Resources this post references
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